There’s nothing like a good night of bowling. Something about being in a bowling alley inspires a nostalgic feeling of simpler times. It’s a simple game (at least to the casual player) and doesn’t matter much how good you are — everyone has fun in the end.
Ed Lang was a living legend in his time. He managed to sweet talk his way to numerous jobs, all with slight truths and a salesman’s wit. Though he was successful and a name around Rhode Island, Lang had an unfulfilled dream. He yearned to open a bowling alley and remained persistent until he found a piece of property in Cranston and opened Lang’s Bowlarama on October 2, 1960. He ran the business by himself until 1972 when his son, Bruce, came back to Rhode Island to help run the company after a successful stint as president of a production company. The father and son team ran the bowling alley during its heyday in the 1970s, including hosting the pro tour in 1976.
The family made the decision to lease the bowling alley to AMF in 1983, which seemed to mark the end of an era. Twenty-nine years later, the center was in disrepair, a far cry from its neon-lit popularity of yore. Rich and Dave Lang, grandsons of Ed, came to the rescue, taking over the company with the hope of restoring it to its glory days. They decided to renovate the entire place, discovering the color schemes and old logos from the 1960s, which they incorporated into their design.
“It has been a non-stop adventure of passion, fun and building the business – one happy customer at a time,” Rich said, detailing how today’s Lang’s Bowlarama is a unique reimagining of the original. “The colors were matched to the original palette we found during renovation,” he noted. Lang’s also features some classic design references to the ’60s and ’70s, such as a huge “BOWL” sign and a massive atomic lamp, as well as vintage photos of the family.
Lang’s has a lot to offer in addition to 10-pin bowling, such as a variety of leagues for ages ranging from kids to seniors, with sign-ups for fall leagues starting soon. They book for birthday parties and corporate events. They have Atomic Bowling under black lights and a laser light show Thursday through Sunday. There is a full service pro shop and bowling lessons from a Top 100 Nationally Ranked USBC Certified Coach. There is also a full bar and menu with a lot to choose from. The Skyline Lounge, which is located in the bowling alley, features live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Summer improvement plans include adding a new expanded bar, event center and larger pro shop.
2015 is its emerald year — recognition of its 55th anniversary — and various activities are planned for the rest of the year. Every Friday and Saturday features “Spin the Prize Wheel,” which takes place during Atomic Bowling and is hosted by DJ Duval. Participants can win almost $300 in prizes. There is a free concert featuring local musicians on July 18 that will benefit Operation Clean Government, an organization that means a lot to the Lang’s. They also partnered with RI Community Food Bank to host a charity car show on August 8, 2015 from 10 am – 3 pm. The event is free to the public (a $10 fee and a canned good for anyone wishing to register their car) and features DJ Car Guy, the Gansett Girls and food for $1.55.
June 28 was a successful part of the anniversary celebration, as Lang’s hosted the first annual Lang’s Scholarship Tournament. Eighty-nine bowlers registered for the tournament, which exceeded expectations. Hunter Kempton shot a 300 game, but Jalen Scott-Jones took first place, with a total score of 908. A $1,000 scholarship was awarded to Qwadaris Rembert, who will attend Vincennes University in Indiana studying business management. A $665 scholarship was awarded to Jalen Scott-Jones, who will study sports business management at Webber International University in Florida.
These events are leading up to the main celebration on October 2 and 3. October 2, which marks 55 years to the day of Lang’s opening its doors to the public, will feature live music on the bowling lanes, along with plenty of prizes and giveaways. October 3 is an all-day family event that will be full of great food and bowling specials. There will also be face painting, balloon animals and other kid-friendly activities. Of course, there will be plenty of giveaways and a few can’t-miss surprises.
Lang’s Bowlarama is a Rhode Island staple, proving that tradition and family are important to the residents of our state. Its longevity as a business shows the perseverance of its owners. The celebrations planned this year will let everyone know that Lang’s knows how to throw a great party, just like they know how to keep a fantastic and successful business rolling.